Nursery staff could be asked to judge whether children are at risk of radicalisation
A Government consultation document which accompanies the Coalition’s Counter-Terrorism Bill, has drawn criticism from numerous quarters for including a proposal that children with the potential for becoming terrorists should be spotted as early as their day nursery years.
The duty being placed on childcare providers states: “Senior management and governors should make sure that staff have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimise terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups.
Among those to criticise the measure was the Conservative Party’s own David Davis who, speaking to The Telegraph, called the plans ‘unworkable’. While general secretary of the headteachers’ union NAHT, Russell Hobby, warned against demanding the wrong attitude from professionals whose services are intended to be fun and friendly, saying, “Any suspicions that [professionals] are evaluating families for ideology could be quite counterproductive.”
Isabella Sankey, of human rights body Liberty, also launched an attack on the measure, accusing the Government of “rushing through a Bill that undermines our democratic principles and turns us into a nation of suspects”.
A Home Office statement has been issued in defence of the objective, however, which stated: “We are not expecting teachers and nursery workers to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life, but we do expect them to take action when they observe behaviour of concern.
“It is important that children are taught fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way. For children in the early years, this will be about learning right from wrong and in practitioners challenging negative attitudes and stereotypes.
“We would expect staff to have the training they need to identify children at risk of radicalisation and know where and how to refer them for further help if necessary.”
Source: Day Nurserys